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5.3.3.  Direct equivalent records in the .alt file

For each non-standard code that is the exact equivalent of a standard code, create a record in the alternate forms file with this format:

  1. Enter the non-standard code, left-justified in the first six columns.

  2. Enter an equal sign (=) in the seventh column. This is the record type code for an exact equivalent.

  3. Enter the standard six-letter code for the new name, left-justified in the next six columns.

  4. Enter one space, followed by the English name on which the code is based. Use the inverted order for multi-word names, e.g., “Grebe, light-phase Western”.

Examples of direct-equivalent records:

amboys=blkoys Oystercatcher, American Black
amewid=amewig Widgeon, American
watpip=amepip Pipit, Water


The form after the equal sign must be defined elsewhere in the standard or alternate forms file. A direct-equivalent record may refer to a code in another direct-equivalent record, but ultimately the chain of references must lead to an actual taxon.

The program will detect cases where there is a cycle in the chain of references. For example, if BRNOWL refers to COBOWL, but COBOWL refers to BRNOWL, that is an error.